Chipolopolo Abort Trip to Kumasi

Chris Katongo planeA sullen looking Herve Renard has said the Zambia national soccer team knows what its mission in Kumasi is as the Chipolopolo head for their final Group D match against the Black Stars of Ghana.

Renard whose team has been caught up in chaotic disorganization ahead of their crunch tie against Ghana said that the team will give their statement on the pitch.

“We know what we have to do in Ghana, we are going to play to win,” he said.

The team that was scheduled to leave for Ghana at 11:00 hours was by 14:00 hours still at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport with the departure time yet to be confirmed.

Renard’s lads endured a long wait at the Oliver Tambo International Airport on their way to Lusaka where they were expected to join a prayer meeting but did not pitch.

By the time Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili was leading the congregants at the Cathedral of Holy Cross Renard and his troops were stuck at the airport and only boarded at 21:30 and arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport close to midnight with formalities winding up an hour later.

Pressed for time the technical bench organized an impromptu session at Nkoloma Stadium in the morning before heading to the Airport at 10:00 hours where they were by 15:00 hours still holed up.

While the protestations were muffled, the team had reservations about making the trip to Lusaka as they thought it consumed their preparation time.

“We have lost a lot of time on the plane because we do not know why they made us come all the way. Our preferred itinerary was to leave from South Africa. But now we are here and not sure what time we are leaving,” the source said.

“This is a very big game and we could not afford losing time in terms of training. We will do our best but we are not very happy.”

Enquiries about the itinerary indicated that the team may leave via Lubumbashi where they are expected to take off for Accra.

Zambia need a win to make it to the final qualifying round as they trail Ghana who are on 12 points, one better than the 2012 African champions.

The Chipolopolo will be without key strikers Jacob Mulenga and Collins Mbesuma.

Kick off has been set at 18:00 hours Zambian time.

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